McManaway Grove Reserve Renamed Tom James Park
At its recent meeting of 18 February, the Northern Ward Committee agreed with public calls to rename the reserve commonly known as McManaway park (or McManaway Grove Reserve)to Tom James Park. Residents from Robson Street and McManaway Grove first requested that the Northern ward Committee consider naming the reserve "Tom James Park" at a meeting of the Committee in September 2001, shortly after the death of Tom James. he was 64. At that point the park had not been officially named.
Tom lived in Robson Street for the last 27 years of his life. neighbours describe him as a man...
...who throughout his life has been heavily involved in the local community, which included giving his time freely through service groups including St Johns Ambulance.
He was very much the social organiser (along with his wife Doreen) of activities in the street. Tom's efforts deserve recognition. By naming the park after him, it will go some small way to recognise his work and the esteem in which he is held.
Tom arrived in New Zealand aged 16 and began his life here as a farm worker. He became an engine driver for The Railways, starting on steam engines, moving on to diesel, and then eventually electric. He also found time to earn a Diploma of Business Studies and a Diploma of safety management through Massey University, being the first person in New Zealand to gain the latter qualification.
He carried out volunteer work for St John's Ambulance and was the safety advisor for the Scouts National Jamboree. He was a member of D.A.R.E. and a former Grand Master of the Stokes Valley Masonic Lodge he was involved in many other community events both official and unofficial, but most of all "Tom James was a friend who was always ready to help."
Tom is survived by his wife Doreen, son Chris, daughters Bonnie and Naomi. He had six grandchildren.